Mary Moments

The story of Christ’s birth has always been a staple for me, especially during Christmas time. As a child I was in countless church plays and programs, retelling the story of baby Jesus with equal parts humor and sentiment. Twice that I can remember I was playing the role of ‘Mary’. As a little girl I didn’t quite understand the gravity of this role. As I got older I came to see Mary as a standard that I couldn’t live up to, the Proverbs 31 woman has nothing on the Mother of Jesus!

So in my mind the bar was set, and set really high. In Luke 1:26 she was visited by the angel Gabriel and his greeting begins with calling her a ‘favored woman’, she was special right from the onset. He goes on to say that the ‘Lord is with you!’ Their exchange is brief and honestly not much information is revealed to her. But in Mary fashion she ends with the words, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’

I’ve reread their conversation and here’s what we know:

  • She’s favored
  • The  Lord is with her
  • She’s going to have a baby (Jesus)

Yep, there’s the plan. Um, hold up a sec. And here’s where I get lost. You see I am pretty laid back girl but this would not have been enough information for me. No way. I’d have about 38 more questions and need a pie chart, maybe even a slide show presentation. This, along with a slough of other reasons is why I wasn’t chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Now Doubting Thomas? I could fill those shoes in a hot second!

Now fast forward to my drive to church this past Sunday. I’m an all things Christmas lover; lights, trees, shopping for gifts, music…all of it. So I’m driving to church and I have my Christmas station playing away and an unfamiliar song comes on. It begins by describing Mary and how wonderful she was. My first thought is well I know they’re not singing about me. In a split second God spoke to my heart and asked why can’t it be you?

My thoughts kind of went everywhere at once and I began making a list of how I’m not ‘Mary Material’. First of all, I ask way too many questions, I’m stubborn, I’m not always an easy follower, I like knowing what the outcome will be…I could go on and on. My first stop before church was the store because I’m a procrastinator and needed a few things for my Sunday School class. As I’m standing in line a gentleman pulls his shopping cart up next to me, not behind me, next to me. I look over as he asks how my Christmas is going. I replied ‘pretty good and how’s yours?’ He said not really well and I had no response other than a sad ‘I’m sorry to hear that.’

Thankfully I was rescued by being next in line because I didn’t know where to go in the conversation at that point. The man put his few groceries on the conveyer behind mine and I quietly asked to cashier to add his total to my bill. As I paid for his groceries he didn’t realize what was happening until he saw the lady put his items into a bag and he stopped her saying that those were his, not mine. She just smiled and apologized to him. I was walking away and he called out ‘You have a wonderful day!’ I smiled back and wished him a Merry Christmas.

Then it hit me, Mary Moments. See this idea that I have to be a saint to be like Mary is just silly. She wasn’t perfect, but she was willing. She was obedient. I didn’t need God’s loud voice in my ear telling me to buy the gentleman’s groceries or to be polite, but I knew that I needed to; it felt like loving my neighbor. As we go about our business of preparing for Christmas I want to challenge you to look for Mary Moments. Be a little more patient than you feel. Give a little more grace than you’d like to. Show a little more love by going out of your way. Be gracious and kind, be willing- just like Mary.

Merry Christmas!


p.s. The image is circa 1985/86 and this was my first play as Mary along with my cousin Josh as Joseph. Aren’t we cute?!